Thursday, May 12, 2011

HIV and AIDs: Peshawar has most cases in K-P

The Express Tribune

A total of 744 HIV/AIDs cases have been reported in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in which Peshawar District is the most vulnerable with 75 patients, whereas 98,000 people are affected by the disease in the country.

This was stated by Dr Talawat Afridi, Coordinator Hayatabad Medical Complex, while speaking at a seminar regarding awareness of HIV/AIDs held under the auspices of Sarhad University of Science & Information Technology here on Wednesday. Registrar Mohammad Nasir, faculty members and students were also present.

Dr Talawat Afridi said that more than 98,000 HIV/AIDs cases have been detected under the Aids Eradication Programme in the country, adding that patients are being provided free medical treatment and medicines.

He said the most AIDs cases had been reported in Bannu District, but the ratio has declined with the passage of time. There were 30 AIDS cases in Khyber Agency, 60 in Kurram Agency, and 100 Afghan refugees.

Big Love in Abbottabad: How Osama bin Laden Kept Three Wives Under One Roof


Osama bin Laden once crowed to an interviewer, "Believe me, when your children and your wife become part of your struggle, life becomes very enjoyable." The late Al-Qaeda chief uttered those words before 9/11, when he was able to keep his four wives and many children living comfortably in separate houses across Afghanistan. Every few weeks or so, Bin Laden would drop in on a wife to fulfill his husbandly duties.

But at the end, his rosy portrayal of being married to the Jihad was sorely tested. His family must have driven him nuts. During his last days in Abbottabad, bin Laden had to contend with three wives and 17 noisy children under one roof. He had no escape from the din, save for furtive pacing around the garden late at night or vanishing into his so-called Command-and-Control Center, a dank, window-less room. Swathed against the Himalayan chill in a woolen shawl, he recorded rants that displayed an ever-widening disconnect with the daily grind of terrorism: his last oddball offerings were on climate change and capitalism.

Bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, was also a family man. An Arab woman married to an al-Qaeda fighter told TIME that after 9/11, bin Laden and his lieutenants made provisions for their families to flee the impending NATO invasion of Afghanistan. His youngest wife, Amal, may have escaped to Yemen via Pakistan, while bin Laden's other wives are thought to have fled through Iran. But this terrorist got lonely. After setting up camp in Pakistan and breaking his own orders, he summoned back three wives: the most recent addition, Amal, plus two Saudi women he'd wed in the 1980s. Both these Saudis were mature, educated women - Khairiah a child psychologist and Siham a teacher of Arabic grammar. (They converted a room in the Abottabad mansion into a classroom.) Bin Laden had been their husband for 25 and 27 years, respectively. U.S. counter-terrorism experts, who are eager to interrogate the wives, now in Pakistani custody, will surely want to know how al-Qaeda smuggled the boss's wives and their kids up to Abbottabad to ease his solitude.

Under Islam, polygamy is allowed but only if the husband is able to treat all of his wives equally. Muslim law also states that a man may only have four wives at a time. Bid Laden married six times, but one marriage ended in divorce and the other was annulled. While in Afghanistan, the wives were able to steer clear of each other. According to a 2002 interview that "AS", presumed to be Amal al-Sadah, gave to the magazine al Majalla, "we did not live in one house. Each wife lived in her own house. There were two wives in Kandahar, each with her own house. The third wife had a house in Kabul, and the fourth in the Tora Bora mountains." Even then, a polygamous family is not without its frictions. When Amal joined the growing clan in 2000, "bin Laden's other wives were upset, and even his mother chastised him," according to Lawrence Wright, journalist and author of "The Looming Tower: al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

Judging from the blueprints of the Abbottabad house, bin Laden tried to keep his three families separate but equal. Each wife and her children were allotted their own floor, and bin Laden would spend time with each. When Navy Seals raided the compound, they found bin Laden on the third floor with Amal, the youngest. Initial White House accounts say she was shot in the leg while trying to shield her husband.

In all, bin Laden had six wives.

Wife #1: Najwa Ghamen, a Syrian and a first cousin, was 15 when she married bin Laden, scarcely two years older. Back then, bin Laden was a rich and well-connected Saudi youth, and Najwa had every reason to believe she was destined for a cushy life of luxury. Instead, she ended up raising 11 children on the run, struggling to keep her good looks in the scorching deserts of Afghanistan. (Bin Laden didn't believe in air conditioning or iced drinks, say his former comrades.) After 9/11, she fled Afghanistan with a mentally disabled son and is thought to have returned to her native Syria. Still married at the time of bin Laden's death, she is technically his fourth widow, although she is not in custody.

Wife #2: His second wife, Khadijah Sharif, was a teacher and nine years older than bin Laden when they were wed in 1983. She reportedly bore him three children before they were divorced sometime between 1993 and 1996 when they were living in Sudan, and bin Laden fell afoul of the Saudi regime.

Wife # 3: His third wife, Khairiah, whom bin Laden wed in 1985, was the "spiritual mother" of the sprawling family, according to a woman who knew the bin Ladens in Afghanistan. "She was very open-hearted. Everybody went to her for advice," she says. This source claims that after 9/11, Khairiah fled through Iran where she was detained under house arrest before the Iranians allowed her to return to Saudi Arabia. From there, she slipped back to Pakistan to rejoin the al-Qaeda chief in Abbottabad.

Wife #4: Shiman Sabar, who was also captured in the Abbottabad house, wed bin Laden in 1987. Militant sources say that after 9/11 she may have slipped across into Pakistan and remained there in hiding until it was safe for her to answer her husband's summons.

Wife #5: Bin Laden's fifth marriage is a mystery. The Saudi rashly wed a woman of unknown nationality in Khartoum in 1994 but the marriage was annulled before it was consummated within 48 hours.

Wife #6: His last wife, Amal, may have been as young as 15 when a $5,000 bride price was paid to her Yemeni family and she was shipped off to marry bin Laden, nearly 30 years her elder, in Kandahar. Wed in 2000, they had one daughter, Safiya, who was allegedly in the bedroom with her father and mother when Seals shot him dead.

So far, Pakistan has not charged his three widows of any crime. Pakistan has said it will expel the three back to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but will grant direct access to US interrogators when the trio "is ready." As for useful intelligence information, an Arab woman with ties to al-Qaeda, told Time that al-Qaeda militants aren't big on pillow talk. "They tend not to tell their wives anything about their operations," she says. Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who interviewed bin Laden back in 1997 recalls: "Osama once told me men should never share their secrets with women." Nevertheless, these three women all have vital stories to tell of how al-Qaeda's network in Pakistan managed to smuggle them back to their forlorn terrorist husband and keep them hidden for so long. As widows, under Islam, they are free to marry again, if they wish. But few suitors are likely to step forward. Marrying the widow of the world's most wanted man has its own complications.

Tim McGirk, a former TIME bureau chief, is a fellow at the University of California at Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Program.

International conspiracy was at work against Z.A.Bhutto SC told

The Supreme Court (SC) was informed on Wednesday that not only the martial law administrator was against former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) but there was also an international conspiracy at work against him as he had succeeded in obtaining nuclear technology from France.

Babar Awan, the federal government’s counsel, said in his passionate style during the hearing that United States was against Bhutto and Dr Henry Kissenger, former US secretary of state, had threatened him in these words: “We will make a horrible example of you.”

An 11-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing presidential reference seeking opinion of the SC on the death sentence handed down to ZAB during the dictatorial regime of General Ziaul Haq. The CJ said that what had happened to ZAB was unprecedented in the history of law, but they needed to have jurisdiction in order to do complete justice to him.

The CJ said: “We will like to decide this case in a manner which is covered by the constitution. The court derives its power from the constitution therefore give us jurisdiction in Article 186, under which the reference has been sent to the SC.”

The CJ remarked all those people who were hanged during the martial law were also citizens of Pakistan and their appeals were also rejected. “Should their cases be reopened? The CJ said: “We have to keep all these things in our mind.”

Babar said if there were thousands of cases of people with whom injustices were done, they should also be reopened.

The CJ stated, “Ask the parliament and pass a law that cases of people who were executed subsequent to the 1977’s martial law and from 1999 to 2008 should be reopened.”

Justice Nasirul Mulk asked what you really wanted from us. You want reversal of the earlier verdict? Justice Javed remarked you were not asking for the court’s verdict but its opinion on the injustice done to ZAB.

The learned counsel stated ZAB’s case was entirely different from others because no one was ever hanged over complicity in a murder case.

Babar explained to the court that the reference was not filed for vengeance or to set aside the earlier judgments, but to highlight atrocities that were meted out to ZAB during the trial. He said just a day before the hearing of ZAB’s appeal in the SC, Ziaul Haq sent the then chief justice Muhammad Yaqub Ali home.

The learned counsel urged the court that the attending circumstances of the then court had to be seen, adding the court also had to see the content of the administration of criminal justice. He said Article 4, which says “Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law,” was violated.

He informed the court there was distinction between process and due process. He said ZAB was condemned unheard.

He said there were two types of laws; one legislative instrument passed by parliament and the precedent law, judgment passed by the apex court. The court adjourned the hearing till Thursday